The Department of Science and Technology–Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) launched Friday, Oct. 15, its enhanced nutribun sweet potato variant in a move to address the increasing incidence of malnutrition in the country.
The launch of the kamote variant was made almost six months after the enhanced nutribun carrot variant was unveiled.
The FNRI’s first variant of nutribun is that with squash, which is rich in beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the body, a micronutrient that is commonly lacking in regular meals of Filipino children.
“Like the two earlier variants, Enhanced Nutribun Sweet Potato is also an excellent source of natural fiber, energy, protein, iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc in significant quantities recommended for young children,” DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said.
During the launch of enhanced nutribun carrot variant on April 28 this year, De la Peña asked DOST-FNRI Director Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa to consider developing the sweet potato variant.
“The DOST-FNRI did not stop to explore more variants using locally – grown raw material, thus, the Launching of the Enhanced Nutribun Sweet Potato,” he said in his message during the launch of the kamote variant of enhanced nutribun.
The DOST chief said the enhanced nutribun, also dubbed as a “nutrition in a bun”, will help boost and sustain the nutritional status of Filipino children during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
He also noted that the enhanced nutribun is a nutritious option during disasters or calamities and relief operations.
The DOST-FNRI in partnership with the DOST-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) started the development of the enhanced nutribun kamote variant in July this year.
The round-shaped, light yellow enhanced nutribun has zero trans-fatty acids and has no cholesterol. It weighs approximately 165 grams.
One serving of enhanced nutribun sweet potato variant contains 507 kilocalories, 17 grams of protein, six milligrams of iron and 612 micrograms (ug) of vitamin A.
When packed in polyethylene (PE) plastic, the enhanced nutribun can last up to six days at room temperature.
“We are hoping that every bite of the enhanced nutribun delivered to every child and their families as well will make them grow healthier and brighter to be able to face every challenge that life brings. Rest assured that the Institute will continue to develop safe and nutritious products yet affordable that can help solve the malnutrition problems in our country,” Agdeppa said.
She took the opportunity to call on other partners and stakeholders to join them in their quest to fight malnutrition in the country.
“We are calling our partners for concerted efforts to address malnutrition in the country which is expected to worsen as a result of the pandemic coupled with limited resources for health and nutrition especially in the countryside,” she said.
“We all know that majority of our children are not meeting the right kinds and amounts of foods, thus the continuous fight against malnutrition is an enormous challenge that demands the commitment and efforts of all sectors in the government as well as in private and non government organisations. Let us do this together,” the FNRI chief said.
DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development (R&D) Rowena Cristina Guevara likewise drummed up support for DOST-FNRI’s call for collaboration to make the enhanced nutribun more affordable and available nationwide
“We once again call on prospective technology adoptors, especially bakery owners, to adopt the Enhanced Nutribun sweet potato variant and make this nutritious bread available nationwide,” she said.
“Be one of the DOST-FNRI’s partners in its continuous fight against malnutrition while also providing livelihood and income for farmers, bakery workers, and other employees of related industries.”
Currently, there are 151 technology adoptors of the enhanced nutribun squash variant and 101 for enhanced nutrition carrot variant nationwide.
De la Peña cited the FNRI’s Enhanced Nutribun Technology has several direct benefits to the public.
“It provides additional income to farmers in the regions and business opportunities to MSMEs and multinational companies.”
“Furthermore, the adoption of the technology brings about job creation and profit generation. It also addresses nutrient gaps among children through the DepEd school-based and DSWD supplementary feeding programs as well as NNC Tutok Kainan Supplementation program.”